Budget hurdles threaten 2010 census

The Census Bureau has already had to cut 11 dress rehearsals, and Senate appropriators want to withhold $10 million in 2008 if it doesn't report on steps it is taking to offer an online option.

The Census Bureau’s funding shortfall forced it to cancel 11 dress rehearsal programs and likely will delay the testing of its handheld devices and data transmission system.Louis Kincannon, the bureau’s director, told lawmakers today that the bureau needs funds before Nov. 16, when the current continuing resolution expires, to ensure the technology trials happen as planned.“We will make our final decision the week of Nov. 17 and then face up to see if we can test the handhelds and system that gets the input of data,” Kincannon said during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census and National Archives. “If we can’t test the handhelds in time to make corrections before heading into the 2010 census, we will have to reconsider our plans.”Kincannon said Commerce Department officials are trying to ease the immediate funding crunch. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations committees asking to transfer $6.8 million to Census from another agency account. The bureau is part of the department.“If we get it by Friday, it would shorten the delay in conducting the more limited dress rehearsal test of the handhelds and data integration software,” Kincannon said.While Census officials are trying to figure out how to come up with about $76 million for the full dress rehearsal, Senate appropriators are threatening to withhold $10 million from the bureau’s fiscal 2008 budget. Lawmakers added a provision to the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill that requires Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget to certify that Census has followed and met all best practices for information technology projects. Additionally, Census must submit a report to Congress on the steps it will take to let people complete future population counts online.Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) authored the amendment. The Senate is debating the bill today.Coburn has been an outspoken critic of Census’ decision to cut the online portion of the decennial count.“If tens of millions of Americans can file their taxes online, do their banking online and shop online, they can surely take a six-question survey online,” Coburn said. “It’s no longer a question of whether or not people should be able to take the census online, but a matter of how we move forward and get it done. By letting the Census Bureau lay out what next steps should be, we can hold them accountable in a more meaningful way than we’ve been able to before.”Coburn, ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, promised Kincannon at a July hearing that he would attached a rider to the appropriations bill.“The potential cost of moving the census online is a fraction of a percentage of the entire budget, but the potential upside is a savings of millions,” Coburn said. “The Census Bureau needs to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to save money and moving the census online is a way that just makes sense.”In addition to the 11 canceled programs, Census has not yet decided whether to keep another seven, Kincannon said. These include dropping some dress rehearsal sites and telephone and fulfillment assistance in different languages.Among the 11 programs that will not happen are questionnaire mailings; counting soldiers who live in barracks at Fort Bragg, N.C.; and the geocoding of certain forms.Kincannon added that by delaying or canceling other programs, Census has saved $55 million to $76 million that it will use to keep the program running while Congress and the White House negotiate the 2008 budget.But Kincannon also said in response to a question from Rep. Carol Mahoney (D-N.Y.) that if Congress doesn’t grant the full $76 million, future preparation costs would increase.“We don’t want to run risk of not testing devices in field situations,” he said.Otto Wolff, Commerce’s chief financial officer and assistant secretary for administration, told lawmakers that the department is working with OMB to include language in the next continuing resolution to give Census an anomaly to spend more than the 2007 limits.

NEXT STORY: Letter: GSA praises Power Player

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.